Located off the coast of Africa is a small country called Seychelles. Despite numerous hurdles that made receiving an education in Seychelles a struggle, the Ministry of Education has made important strides in the educational system since the country’s formation.

After gaining independence in 1976, Seychelles had little formal education made available to the people. In fact, the government did not start a program to improve the adult literacy rate until the late 1980s.

This program encouraged adults to attend literacy classes and school, if possible, to improve their education. Consequently, the adult literacy rate rose as high as 85 percent in 1991. Today, the literacy rate is around 94 percent, taking into account all residents of the small country.

The improvement in literacy is not the only good news about education in Seychelles, though. Since 1981, the government has supported free education, allowing children to attend school without having to pay for tuition. Also, the government mandates for students aged 16 and younger to attend school.

This is all a result of the government’s effort to improve education in Seychelles to benefit all residents. According to Commonwealth Education Online, the government wants to “empower young people in order to enhance national productivity and social cohesion, and to enable them to participate fully in the global marketplace.”

These plans are going well, as around 94 percent of children now complete primary education in Seychelles.

In 2000, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) laid out goals for 164 countries to achieve by 2015. Some of these goals concerned adult literacy and early childhood development and education. By 2014, Seychelles was the only country in Africa to meet the goal of providing education to all residents before the 2015 deadline. Other countries in Africa made significant strides in their education systems. However, according to the Seychelles News Agency, 31 of these countries are not expected to achieve UNESCO’s goals until as late as 2020.

Clearly, the government has made improving education in Seychelles a top priority. Though the country has not opened a university for the continuation of education, a teaching college is available. Many students choose to study in the United Kingdom for university tuition, and the government is in cooperation with the University of London to open a center for higher learning in the island nation.

Education in Seychelles has come a long way since the country’s formation, and only plans on improving.

Jacqueline Nicole Artz

Photo: Flickr